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Big-time History

As easy as it is to spend the entirety of your Punta Cana getaway along that heavenly riviera, a daytrip to Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic's history-drenched capital, has much to recommend itself. It's a city of superlatives: the biggest metro area in the Caribbean (better than 3 million strong) and the oldest continuously inhabited European outpost in all the Americas, founded as it was back in 1496.

Santo Domingo's beautiful and well-preserved colonial core, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes such landmarks as the Catedral Santa Maria La Menor and the Monasterio de San Francisco. You've also got a full suite of museums, theaters, shops, and restaurants to explore. In short, Santo Domingo's well worth your time--even if it does require that you pull yourself away from Punta Cana's sparkling sands.

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